• Speculative Futures NYC | Pre-PRIMER19 Meetup

    Building 22

    Join Speculative Futures NYC as we usher in PRIMER19 with a pre-conference Meetup chock-full of speakers, performances, and opportunities to connect with our larger Speculative Futures community!!! UPDATED LINE-UP!!!! // TALKS Alisha Bhagat, Forum for the Future Re-Imagining Lunch - Applied Futures in Practice Chris Woebken, Extrapolation Factory Stretching Our Collective Imagination // SPECULATIVE FUTURES PANEL ft. International Chapter Leaders Luisa Ji | Ontario | Canada (Moderator) Andrés Valencia | Guadalajara | Mexico Vera Karina Gebhardt Fearns | Lisbon | Portugal Lourdes Rodríguez | Madrid | Spain // LIVECODE ALGORAVE 🎵 Andrew Cotter (Music) & Zach Krall (Visuals) will collaboratively perform live-coded music/art - an Algorave. All sounds and visuals are created live in front of the audience, and the real-time code is projected for audience members to see. For this Meetup, YOU WILL NEED TO PURCHASE A TICKET USING THE EVENTBRITE LINK BELOW!!! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/speculative-futures-nyc-pre-primer19-meetup-tickets-60375745480 ***If you are already attending PRIMER19, you get a FREE ticket to this event. Please enter the promo code you received when purchasing your PRIMER ticket on the Meetup Eventbrite to receive your free pass ***PRIMER19 tickets will be available for purchase during this event, discounted to reflect the $25 purchase of this Meetup ticket ABOUT THE SPEAKERS/PERFORMERS Alisha Bhagat Alisha Bhagats a Senior Strategist at Forum for the Future, a sustainability non-profit that works with companies on long term planning and systems change. She helps people and organizations think strategically and long term so that they can anticipate change as well as create the future they want. She has done futures workshops with monks in Burma, the US government, students at places like the University of Hawaii and the New School, foundations, and businesses. She has a background in international development and is particularly interested in using futures as a means of community building and social change. She holds an MS from Georgetown University and a BS from Carnegie Mellon University. When not thinking about the future, Alisha is an avid gamer and science fiction enthusiast. Chris Woebken Chris Woebken (b. Hamburg, DE) is a speculative design practitioner, educator, and co-founder of the Extrapolation Factory, a participatory-futures studio. Chris lives and works in New York City and he is Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and Parsons School of Design. Chris earned a Masters Degree in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art in London. Recently his work was awarded a MacDowell Fellowship (19), the Shed‘s Open Call grant (19) as well as a Graham Foundation Individual Grant (19). Andrew Cotter Andrew is a creative technologist who makes interactive installations, video games, and teaches creative coding at Parsons' MFA Design + Technology program. Zach Krall Zach Krall is a Brooklyn based artist and technologist. He is a graduate candidate in the Design and Technology program at Parsons School of Design. Zachkrall.com About RLab // The RLab, 16,500 square feet of co-working labs, classrooms, studios, and more, is the nation’s first city-funded center for research, entrepreneurship and education in virtual and augmented-reality, spatial computing and other emerging media technologies. The new multi-university center is critical to the City’s plans to establish New York City as the next global leader in VR/AR and related technologies and will create hundreds of new jobs in the field. PRIMER T-SHIRTS!!! If you would like to order a PRIMER19 T-Shirt to pick up at the conference, please use the link below. https://forms.gle/McHhrhxn1dGHkZUb6

  • Wired for Next: Using Foresight Ethnography for Speculative Visions

    Is the speed of technological, economic, environmental, political, and social change “rewiring” humanity, and thus redefining not only our approach to design but work, income, consumption, education, and lifestyles in the 21st Century? Many of today’s thought leaders agree that our environment of accelerating volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity is ushering in a new era of human development. This in turn will mean that we must intentionally reframe our mindset, activity and purpose as a species in order to collectively create a better tomorrow. Join us on Thursday May 30th, to hear more on the topic from Frank Spencer, professional futurist, consultant, speaker, author, Founding Principal at Kedge and Co-founder at The Future School. In this creative and empowering workshop, we will dive into what humanity will “think, do and be” in light of the unprecedented changes taking place all around us. Along with becoming familiar with the “Wired for Next” map that highlights radical and speculative images of the future, participants will work through a foresight ethnographic tool, “Point of Impact,” to explore future-empowered visions that will require changing present-day design strategies to achieve desired transformations. In this Meetup, You Will: • Learn a method for recognizing your assumptions about the future that could keep you from seeing and leveraging the changing role of humans in design, learning, leading, and creating. • Identify how new mindsets are required for redefining and reframing design in the rapidly changing environment of the 21st Century. • Understand how creating speculative visions of the future requires collective action in the present. • Explore how to use a Strategic Foresight Ethnographic tool to examine the extended ramifications of the shifting landscape. ABOUT FRANK // Frank Spencer is a professional futurist, consultant, speaker and author, delivering presentations and workshops around the world. He holds an MA in Strategic Foresight from Regent University, and is a founding partner at Kedge, a global foresight, innovation and strategic design firm. For the past two decades, he has helped companies such as Kraft, Mars, Marriott, Daimler and XPRIZE implement foresight into their strategy, innovation and organizational development practices, and he has also worked with academic institutions such as Duke University (where he created the first foresight program for Duke TIP) and Higher Colleges of Technology (Dubai’s largest public university, where his company has developed a professional foresight certification for the entire student population). Kedge also led the effort to establish foresight as a leadership competency throughout The Walt Disney Company, training over 500 employees across 21 countries. Frank is also co-founder of The Futures School, a globally-recognized Strategic Foresight training and certification program with alumni spanning the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia, Oceania and the Caribbean. His passion and mission is to democratize foresight around the world. NOTE // This month, Speculative Futures NYC will take place in the Teach For America offices in downtown Manhattan (where Doc & Jack work). It's a great space, but you must be registered 48 HOURS before the event in order to give a list to security. We will close all RSVPs at midnight on May 28th. Since Frank is flying in to join us for this special Meetup, please please please only RSVP if you will be attending the event. If for any reason you won't be able to attend, please change your RSVP to No, no later than 72 hours before the event, so that we can open a seat for someone else. Thank you!!!

  • The Frontiers of Design (30 min film screening + discussion)

    Join Speculative Futures NYC as we partner with Doberman for an extra special event! Doberman has generously opened up their space to host an amazing film screening and panel discussion that speculates on the future of Design. The Frontiers of Design is a film project interviewing 20 influential organizations and designers about what’s next for Design. The project consists of 20 shorts (frontiersfilm.com) and one full film. Together they form a diverse patchwork of perspectives across industries, disciplines and markets. This film project is not a quest for The Answer. Because there is no holy grail. On the contrary, this is the beginning of a journey to uncover clues and spark an industry-wide dialogue about the challenges, opportunities and responsibilities at the Frontiers of Design. We hope you will join us as we learn about and explore how designers and technologists can push each other to work beyond today's constraints towards the future we want. DETAILS // Thursday, April 18th Doors Open at 6pm, Screening Begins at 6:30PM Panel discussion to follow PANEL BIOS // Michael Burkin, Managing Director, Doberman NYC Michael is the Managing Director of Doberman’s New York studio. In his role he is accountable for maintaining Doberman’s creative excellence and award-winning culture, and building client relationships of mutual purpose. He is passionate about mentoring creative teams, developing strategies and delivering exceptional, memorable, human-centered experiences. Over the course of his career, he has worked with diverse business and design leaders from organizations such as Harvard Business School, Citi, Ford, Samsung, Pfizer and Tiffany & Co. Prior to joining Doberman, Michael led strategic Business Development efforts for global design and innovation firms including Smart Design, Fjord and IDEO. Victor Essnert, Technology Director, Doberman Victor Essnert is a technology leader with 15 years building products and teams. He focuses on creating cross functional teams that solve real world problems using the right tools for the problem at hand. Victor has spent most of his career in companies that are growing and changing quickly. Prior to Doberman NY, Victor held a number of senior leadership roles at ustwo over 9 years, establishing technology and agile delivery for the London studio and being part of the global leadership team. Before that Victor worked a startups in mobile gaming and online video. Margaret Shear, Interim Creative Director, Doberman Margaret Shear is a human-centered design leader with 15 years of experience working from strategy to pixel. Prior to Doberman, she served as Design Director at Condé Nast, where she helped established the discipline of user-centered design and ultimately oversaw a team of 20+ product designers. For 10 years prior, Margaret ran a solo consulting business serving a range of clients in both San Francisco and New York. She collaborated with design consultancies (frog design, Smart Design, Adaptive Path), established tech orgs (Jawbone, OpenTable, Nokia), and early stage startups. ABOUT DOBERMAN // Doberman is a design firm. We transform brands and organizations, innovate new offerings, and make products and experiences. Learn more at doberman.co.

  • Cyborgs at the Frontiers: Cybernetic Speculation & Human Transcendence

    "Space travel challenges mankind not only technologically but also spiritually, in that it invites man to take an active part in his own biological evolution.” Thus wrote Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline, the creators of the word “cyborg”, in a 1960 article in which they discussed the challenges of making humans fit for space. This month, Danya Glabau joins us to discuss how past and present cyborgs can act as figures for speculating the future of humanity. From Norbert Wiener’s hearing glove, to Clynes and Kline’s metabolically extended mouse, to cyborgs in science fiction, cyborgs figure centrally in speculating about how humans will transcend their bodies and the planet Earth for new frontiers of place, function, and sensation. Danya will also discuss some of the key dynamics that have arisen in her research on cyborg history: • How do cyborgs help question the role of 'nature' as a driving impetus for the future of humanity? • What is the interplay between imagination and reality, science, and science fiction when it comes to cyborgs? • What is the capacity for cybernetic kinship to be inclusive of, even productive of, queer forms of family, disability, and speculative hope? After the talk, Danya and Speculative Futures Co-Organizer Doc Martens will facilitate a discussion and break-out groups around the following prompt: "If you were tasked with designing a cybernetic enhancement, what would it be? What would it do? What ethical questions might it raise?" ABOUT DANYA // Danya is an anthropologist and STS scholar with a PhD from the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at Cornell University. She is also the Founder of Implosion Labs, LLC, an ethnography-driven research and consulting group; an Adjunct Instructor in the department of Technology, Culture, and Society at NYU Tandon School of Engineering; and Faculty at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. Learn more on her website: https://danyaglabau.com Read her essay on cyborgs: https://danyaglabau.com/2019/02/15/cyborgs-at-the-frontiers/ NOTE // This month, Speculative Futures NYC will take place in the Teach For America offices in downtown Manhattan (where Doc works). It's a great space, but please be sure to register ahead of time as you MUST be on the guest list to get in the building.

  • The Speculative Artifact

    Location visible to members

    This month we have the honor of welcoming Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde! Ayo will be showing some of his amazing work and will have a lot of it on hand for people to try! - From fly controlled wearables to African artifacts from the future, artist and educator Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde discusses his speculative works with respect to memory, culture, futurity. _ Ayo's Artistic Statement: I reclaim spaces for the marginalized with the use of technology, ritual, and the speculative. Whether it be a citizen sousveillance suit to monitor police activity, a Techno-Shamanistic religion that renders ritual virtually, or archeological artifacts from future African cultures, I find it imperative to work collaboratively with other artists and local communities. My work is about problematizing relationships between physical, spiritual, and virtual spaces rather than solving problems as a form of critique. As well as being technologically functional and uncanny, my works are not only educational, community-driven, but also force positive dialog through the contemplation on the differences between the speculated future and the present that may be leveraged to affect social change. My works situate themselves between physical and digital spaces, between the past, present, and future. They ask us to, through technology, reimagine notions of race, identity, politics, and culture as they travel through time and space. _ Bio: Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde (ayo) is a Nigerian-American artist and interactive designer living and working in New York. He studied Visual Arts and Philosophy at Rutgers the State University of New Jersey where he earned his B.A. His works range from painting and speculative design to physically interactive works, wearable technology and explorations of Afrofuturism. Okunseinde was the co-founder and creative director of Dissident Display Studios, an award winning studio and art gallery based in Washington DC. As a collaborator with, amongst others, choreographer Maida Withers, Carmen Wong, and Yoko K., Okunseinde has created several interactive performance based works and has performed in several countries including Mexico, Finland, and Croatia. Okunseinde art residency participation includes Finland’s Invitation to Helsinki, IDEO’s Fortnight, New Inc, The Laundromat Project, and Eyebeam’s Creative Residency. Ayodamola holds an MFA in Design and Technology from The New School, Parsons School of Design in New York where he is currently an adjunct faculty member.

  • Should Everyone be a Futurist?

    The New School University Center Rm UL104

    This month we have the incredible Elliott Montgomery! Coming off of his insightful presentation at PRIMER18, Elliott Montgomery will join us for a discussion of democratized speculation. A leader in the participatory futures practice, Elliott has a wealth of knowledge about how to engage diverse audiences around alternative narratives. He has even co-authored a book of effective methods. But the question remains, "Should Everyone be a Futurist?" Elliott P. Montgomery is a futures-researcher and strategic designer whose work focuses on speculative alternatives at the confluence of social, technological and environmental impact. He is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Design at Parsons School of Design, and is co-founder of The Extrapolation Factory, a design-futures studio based in Brooklyn. He is a former design research resident at the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, Energy. He holds a Masters Degree in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art in London and a Bachelors in Industrial Design from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh PA.

  • Raising Robotic Natives

    Parsons School of Design

    This month we have the pleasure of welcoming Jonas Voigt and Philipp Schmitt! Raising Robotic Natives (Bogner, Schmitt, Voigt) explores interactions between children and robots that could raise them as the first generation of ‘robotic natives’. The project consists of a series of four conceptual objects that deal with concerns regarding home safety, robots’ social status, intimacy and educational challenges. Jonas and Philipp will take the project as a case study to introduce a process for speculative design — from concept to methodology to documentation. Biography Philipp Schmitt Philipp Schmitt is a designer and artist based in New York. Born in Würzburg (DE) in 1993, he received a BA from Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd (2016) and studied at Designskolen Kolding, Denmark (2015). He is currently a graduate student in MFA Design and Technology at The New School and was previously a Research Fellow at MIT SENSEable City Lab (2017). Philipp’s work revolves around design and technology as subjects instead of considering them solely as tools. He is interested in exploring and articulating their applications and implications for the future. Biography Jonas Voigt Jonas Voigt is a strategic designer and researcher based in New York. Born in Hof (DE) in 1992, he received a BA from Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd (2016) and studied at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada (2015). He is currently a graduate student in MFA Transdisciplinary Design at The New School and works with Arthelps (NGO). Jonas’s work is exploring the democratization of design processes for societal transformation. He is interested in design as a critical tool to cross disciplinary boundaries. Their work has been published, exhibited and awarded internationally.

  • "Better" : Navigating Imaginaries in Design and Synthetic Biology

    This month we are joined by the incredible Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg! ____________________ • When designers promise a better future, they are not alone: engineers, marketers, politicians and scientists also invoke the imaginary of better, creating dreams that can have material effects. But better is not a universal good or a verified measure: better is imbued with politics and values. And better will not be delivered equally, if at all. What is better? Who is it better for. Who gets to decide? Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg’s uses design to to question better, opening up the possibility of alternative dreams. ____________________ • Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg is an artist, designer, and writer. Daisy's experimental practice critically explores values that shape design, science, and emerging technology through the design of objects, fictions, writing, and curating. She works with leading scientists, engineers, artists, designers, social scientists, museums, and industry around the world. Daisy has spent ten years researching synthetic biology and biodesign, and is lead author of Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology’s Designs on Nature (MIT Press, 2014) and in 2017 completed Better, her PhD in Design Interactions at London's Royal College of Art. https://daisyginsberg.com/about • This meet-up takes place on the 12th floor of 6 east 16th Street. Please check in at the front desk and then come on up!

  • The Deep Affinity Lab: Playing with the Future of Intelligence

    Parsons School of Design

    The proliferation of artificial intelligence provides humanity’s greatest ontological opportunity. As the things we design, design us back, The Deep Affinity Lab proposes that we seize this opportunity by designing our intelligent machines and interfaces with a focus on ecological empathy, understanding, and connectivity. In this way, climate change and the rise of intelligent machines are not existential threats, but instead solutions to each other. From machine learning helping to decode the language of bats to drones fighting forest fires, a new narrative is already emerging. Borrowing from the social lab’s movement, the Deep Affinity Lab is a social speculation laboratory setup to evolve this eco-cognitive vision by leveraging the imaginative potential of speculative design through a portfolio of transformational engagements. This portfolio included a series of immersive experiences, workshops, and games to explore how new ecologically intelligent minds - natural, artificial, and hypothetical - could be created. After building a community of over a hundred people, the lab has developed new design principles for how speculative design can scale and successfully operate more systemically. Join us engage this new vision of artificial intelligence and to hear discussion of the lab’s practice of social speculation. Finally, Jack will lead an interactive workshop in which participants will play version of the Deep Affinity Lab’s game, Future Minds, which lets participants play with the emerging possibilities of new minds. -------------- Jack Wilkinson Jack Wilkinson’s practice is rooted in speculation as a means to empower imagination and explore what lies across the posthuman horizon. Leveraging his background in both entertainment and psychology, he seeks to utilize design to create transformative technology to evolve human ontology and find greater empathetic ways of being. He is a part-time lecturer at the Parsons School of Design, a fellow at the Emerging Future Institute and a frequent collaborator with the Extrapolation Factory. He has worked in the Designed Realities Lab alongside Tony Dunne & Fiona Raby and in the Urban Intelligence Lab alongside Shannon Mattern. He was invited to Japan as a Global Design Fellow for Toshiba and to Italy where he worked with NeFuLa. He has also worked with and presented projects to IBM, NASA, Microsoft, Cognizant, Idea Couture, Accenture, Bell Labs and the United Nations. A s the director of the Deep Affinity Lab, his current focus is on the design of intelligent systems, questioning their role in helping to combat climate chaos and speculating on their ability to bridge the communication gap between human and nonhuman. Outside of his work in design, Jack is also an avid traveller, a trained chef and occasionally moonlights as a stand-up comic. Media Links: www.deepaffinitylab.com (http://www.deepaffinitylab.com/) www.speculativenow.com (http://www.speculativenow.com/)

  • Speculation as Strategy


    As the first meet-up, this event will introduce the practice of speculative design. We are also fortunate to have designer Stephanie Lukito in from Jakarta, Indonesia who will share her practice. ________________________________________________________________ First, designer Jack Wilkinson will talk through canonical examples and his interpretation of the practice. More traditional designers will be encouraged to ask questions, and practicing speculative designers are encouraged to feel free to drive the conversation. The primary role of the designer is often as problem solver, but the practice of speculative design calls on the designer to instead be expert interrogator. What is meant by speculative/critical/discursive design and what can more traditional practices design learn from it? Next, award winning designer Stephanie Lukito, visiting from Indonesia will join Jack in conversation. Having worked with Toshiba, Ford, and NYC Parks, she uses speculation as a starting place, and often, what begins as a project meant to provoke ends up being a reasonable, albeit radical, solution to an emerging problem. As has happened with her Fast Company award winning speculative project Interzone, what happens when discursive design projects, meant to provoke, become embraced and even funded? How can designers use speculation to open up spaces of alternative innovation and turn the speculative proposal into radical strategy? Finally, inspired by her time in Jakarta, Stephanie will lead an speculative exercise asking, how can emerging micro-economies inform alternative global futures? __________________________________________________________________ Stephanie Lukito is a designer with many roles and interests, backed by a love for creativity, experimentation, and collaborative methodology. An award-winning interdisciplinary designer, she believes in asking the right questions in order to find nuanced opportunities and translate them into playful outcomes for the real world. Currently based in Jakarta, she has presented her work in Berlin, London, Tokyo, and New York. She recently was Fast Company World Changing Ideas Finalist for her project Interzone which reimagined New York City with three new timezones. Stephanie gravitates towards projects that aren't rigid—ones that reinterpret a context or provoke new questions. Through this practice, she hopes to shift how we see our surroundings and cultivate new possibilities for the future—one that is more flexible, open, and kinder to our environments. Outside of these interests, she is a hiker, cyclist, camper, and cook. Someday, she wants to live in the mountains, sans internet. Jack Wilkinson's projects emerge in the space where theory takes form and extrapolated trends are realized. His practice is rooted in speculation as a means to empower imagination and explore what lies across the posthuman horizon. Leveraging his background in both entertainment and psychology, he seeks to utilize design to create transformative technology to evolve human ontology and find greater empathetic ways of being. He is a part time lecturer at the Parsons School of Design, a Fellow at the Emerging Future Institute and a frequent collaborator with the Extrapolation Factory. He has worked in the Designed Realities Lab alongside Tony Dunne & Fiona Raby and taught alongside Shannon Mattern in the Urban Intelligence Lab. His current focus is on the design of intelligent systems, questioning their role in helping to combat climate chaos and speculating on their ability to bridge the communication gap between human and nonhuman. Outside of his work in design, Jack is also an avid traveller, a trained chef and occasionally moonlights as a stand-up comic.